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Not All Schools Technologically Ready For New Standardized Tests

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

A sample question on California's new "Smarter Balance" standardized test - for math, grades 6-8.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

A new study raises questions about whether California schools are fully prepared to administer the state’s new computerized standardized tests – from a technology perspective.

This is the first year when every student will take new math and English language arts standardized tests. They’re called “Smarter Balance” tests, and they’re part of the new Common Core curriculum. Students take the exams online, and the goal is to test their critical thinking skills.

The Public Policy Institute of California wanted to know whether school districts have the technological capacity to administer the online tests – the hardware, software, Internet speed and training. So the PPIC surveyed school district technology officers throughout the state. And the word back is that readiness is mixed.

Districts are generally in good shape in terms of hardware and Internet bandwidth – but less so with software, and training teachers and IT staff. Larger districts tend to be better prepared than smaller ones. And the study suggests districts will need more money to keep their infrastructures up to date.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio